Maps, Tracks and Navigation

Finding your Way

Boots N’ All walks are led by experienced walkers who take your safety seriously, and often do a “recce” walk in the days or weeks ahead of a walk they are leading. You can learn a lot by observing how they find their way, whether they are using map and compass or GPS device, what they are watching for; marker tapes, coloured metal track markers, stone cairns, marker stakes and even just worn pads on the ground. They gained enough experience to do this by themselves learning from others, and taking care to be familiar with devices they might be using, and learning at least some of the theory of map reading and compass work.

What if you get separated from the party? It’s a great reason to start to develop your skills, and perhaps to build up a collection of maps, at least for areas you are likely to visit frequently. Do you have a mobile phone or GPS device? Learn how to use it. See our GPS Navigation page, which outlines the options and addresses the “phone vs GPS” debate. You will find hundreds of gpx tracks from Boots N’ All and other walks in our GPX Map Files collection. (“gpx” files are the standardised way that tracks recorded on GPS devices are saved and shared. The collection also includes “kml” files for a great many of the same tracks, so you can preview them in Google Earth!)

If you look on the internet, there are a number of sites that can help you get started with basic advice and strategy. Here are a couple:
The Hiking Life
Navigation on the Trail (Australian based)

See also our Safety and Equipment page, and check out Parks Tasmania’s Safety in Parks page.